There we stand. Four guys, one net and one ball. When the ball soars after the first hit, our dance begins. We dive, we scream –– we win. Then, we start again. We’re not the only gladiators who engage in this incredible act of physical might, but we may be the most persistent. This game is in our blood. We play in the rain, under the beating sun and in the darkness of night. This game brings us together, and at times, tears us apart. The game… is spike ball.
Actually… spike ball is not that deep. It’s just fun, and our freshman dorm is weirdly obsessed with it.
Spike ball has been an ever-growing sport around college campuses for the past couple years. Many schools have leagues or clubs dedicated to this simple game, and at The College of William and Mary, places like the Sunken Garden offer the perfect setting for a game of spike ball.
One of the best aspects of spike ball –– and one of the reasons it’s so popular in our hall –– is that really anyone can play. We have a couple of guys on our floor who never played sports in high school, but it has never deterred them from hopping into a game. It is super easy to pick up, and once someone gets better and realizes how fun it is to play, it quickly becomes really hard to stop them.
Spike ball has also made us unanticipated friends. There have been tons of times where we’ve been in the middle of a game, and someone interested in playing comes over and hangs out with us. A few games will go by, and as we wrap up for the day, this new face quickly becomes a friend we’ll look for around campus.
For us and our friends in our freshmen dorm, spike ball has been a huge part of our semester this fall. It’s a stress reliever, gets us outside and also lets us blow off some steam when we all feel like banging our heads against a wall from one too many hours of biology or philosophy readings.
But most importantly, spike ball has given us a way to strengthen the bond between the guys in our freshman dorm: Camm Hall. We first started playing when Max got a Spike Ball kit for his birthday. At that time, all the guys including us had only known each other for about a week and a half. We were awkward –– we barely knew each other, and we were looking for ways to get past the stage of just sitting around and staring at each other. So, we started playing spike ball. Then we played some more. We kept playing so much, the game subconsciously worked itself into our daily routines. We couldn’t go through a day without going to the Sunken Garden and “spiking it up,” as we call it throughout our floor. Someone would pop into the group-chat and ask, “Does anyone wanna Spike?” and without fail, at least three other guys would jump on the chance to play.
While we played, nothing else really mattered. There would be days we’d compete like our lives depended on it, and there were days where Max really only tried to set the ball using his head, much to his partner’s dismay. We’d laugh at each other when we’d whiff at the ball, but we’d also rush over to anyone who took a spill trying to keep a rally going. Inside jokes began to form, and quickly the joking around followed us back to our dorm long after we left the Sunken Garden. We became teammates, and we became friends.
With only a net, a ball and a speaker, a boring Monday became a day filled with laughs, music, sweat and new memories. Whether it was just thirty minutes or an hour (or some days, many hours), spike ball and Taylor Swift carried us all through days that seemed overwhelmingly endless.
Our love of spike ball has not just stayed on Camm’s first floor, either. People from the second and third floors come and play with us all the time. Because the game is so easy to pick up, most people start off playing very timidly and in just a few days, are diving on the ground with us. Eventually, the game becomes less about just making the ball hit the net and more about how hard–or soft in some cases–the ball needs to be hit in order to trip up the opposing team.
So if you ever see a rowdy group of Camm Hall Spike Ball lovers playing on the Sunken Garden, don’t be afraid to come play with us. We love teaching new people how to play, and if you already know how, then feel free to jump in. This game has not only given us consistent fun but also great memories –– memories filled with jokes, lots of grass stains and even more Taylor Swift. We would love to challenge you to a Taylor Swift sing-off and of course, a good ol’ game of spike ball.